African Caracals are Small, Fast, and Tufty

by Kayla Hollis, age 11

With so many different wild cats in Africa, the caracal is often overshadowed. This small African cat is not only the fastest of all small cats, but its habitat is also the most widespread.

The Caracal can weigh up to 41 pounds, smaller than a five year old child. Including its head, body, and tail, this powerful cat can reach lengths of up to 4 feet.

This African cat has unique features. It has the face of a house cat and the body of a smaller African golden cat. Its ear fur is pale on the inside and black on the outside, with black tufts of long hair on the tips of their ears. The cat’s facial movements and expressions are exaggerated by these tufts, which are vital for communication with other cats. Aside from its white belly, the rest of the body fur varies from a brown color to a reddish-grey.

The caracal is an expert hunter. With its powerful hindquarters, it can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour. This cat’s hindquarters are longer than its forelimbs, which makes the caracal’s buttocks protrude outward. Using its muscular hind limbs, the caracal can jump up to 10 feet in the air, using its retractable claws to catch flying birds. The cat’s jaw has a devastating bite that helps it overcome prey twice its own weight.

The caracal is found in dry areas such as African savannahs. They are also found in coastal areas of southwestern Asia, the Arabian peninsula and eastern Mediterranean countries.

Although the African Caracal is a common cat in its native habitat, it is a fascinating predator to learn about.

[Source: The Encyclopedia of Animals]